Erectile dysfunction

This is the medical name for impotence. Erectile dysfunction is defined as the inability to have or maintain an erection long enough for successful sexual intercourse.

Erectile dysfunction is caused by any number of factors of which high blood pressure is one of them.

If you are a man with high blood pressure then you will find that that this can be effectively treated.

Causes of erectile dysfunction

There are several causes of this male problem which include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Narrowing of the arteries
  • Using recreational drugs, e.g. cocaine
  • Anxiety (about sexual performance)
  • Nervousness
  • Depression

As you can see there are both physical and psychological causes of erectile dysfunction.

Ironically, some forms of high blood pressure medication such as beta blockers can cause erectile dysfunction.

How does high blood pressure cause erectile dysfunction?

To start with, an erection occurs when blood flows through arteries within the penis which causes it to widen and strengthen.

But erectile dysfunction means that these arteries are blocked or damaged in some way which prevents them from expanding and enabling blood to flow through. This restriction prevents an erection from happening or is unable to sustain it.

High blood pressure puts pressure on these arteries which causes them to thicken and narrow. This prevents blood from flowing into the penis which results in impotency.

Remember: high blood pressure means that your heart has to work harder than usual to pump blood through your arteries and around your body. This extra pressure causes the arteries to lose elasticity and narrow which then restricts the blood flow.

Restricted blood flow to any part of the body will cause a problem, e.g. the brain or heart and this is no different.

Symptoms of erectile dysfunction

Sufferers of this condition find that they are unable to form an erection; to remain hard enough for penetration or to sustain it during sexual intercourse.

Treatment for erectile dysfunction

If your problem is caused by your high blood pressure then this will need to be controlled on a long term basis. You may also find that you need to make a few lifestyle changes as well, e.g. reducing the amount of salt in your diet.

If high blood pressure medication is the culprit then your GP will switch you to an alternative form of medicine. Do not stop any medication unless otherwise instructed by your GP.

If this problem continues then there is treatment available for erectile dysfunction. Speak to your GP about this.

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